Install escape devices on fishing gear: Sea turtles

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects of installing escape devices on fishing gear on sea turtle populations. This study was in the Gulf of Carpentaria (Australia).





  • Unwanted catch (1 Study): One randomized, paired, controlled study in the Gulf of Carpentaria found that trawl nets with escape devices caught a similar number of sea turtles compared to unmodified nets.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A randomized, paired, controlled study in 1995–1995 in seabed areas in the Gulf of Carpentaria, northern Australia (Brewer et al. 1998) found that trawl nets fitted with one of seven escape zone designs (“bycatch reduction devices”) caught similar numbers of sea turtles compared to unmodified nets. No statistical tests were carried out. Nets fitted with escape zones caught turtles at a similar rate (0.14 turtles/tow, 17 individuals) as unmodified nets (0.13 turtles/tow, 9 individuals). The unwanted catch included three species of turtles and three of snakes. The effect of escape zones on the commercially targeted prawn catch varied by design (see original paper for details). Escape zone designs tested included ‘fisheye’, ‘radial escape section’, ‘square mesh window’ and square mesh windows fitted with a number of modifications (see original paper for details). Vessels towed twin Florida Flyer prawn trawl nets from each side of the vessel in trials of one-month duration (sea turtles: February and October 1995). Nets fitted with one of the designs of escape zone and an unmodified net were randomly assigned to either side of the vessel.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Sainsbury K.A., Morgan W.H., Watson M., Rotem G., Bouskila A., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2021) Reptile Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for reptiles. Conservation Evidence Series Synopsis. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

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Reptile Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Reptile Conservation
Reptile Conservation

Reptile Conservation - Published 2021

Reptile synopsis

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